Pillows for Neck Pain and Shoulder Pain Relief

girl laying on pillow comfortablySleeping with the best cervical support pillow for neck and shoulder pain can have a major impact on the quality of your sleep. The right type of pillow for neck pain can determine how healthfully you recharge and rest. You have truly found one of the best pillows for neck pain! But the wrong pillow can worsen neck and shoulder pain and can even cause chronic headaches and tension in the face. While the wrong pillow won’t be the cause of ongoing pain in the head, neck, and shoulders, it can certainly exacerbate many underlying problems that are linked to pain symptoms.

If the cervical pillow you use is past its prime it may also contain dust mites, fungus, mildew, mold, and skin cells. Experts recommend purchasing a new pillow once a year. After two years it’s definitely time for a change. Once you find the best neck pillow, you can prevent any additional neck pain due to neck strain by performing stiff neck exercises. You can follow links on this page to see more information about a pillow that works best for you based on your needs.

Choosing the Right Pillow for Neck Support Based on Sleeping Position

Many experts believe that poor support and neck posture during the night can be responsible for waking up with neck stiffness and neck pain. Headaches that originate from neck strain can be caused by using a pillow that’s too firm and pushes the neck out too far. Having a good pillow is one of the best ways to remedy poor posture and alignment in your spine that could be causing pain or even pinched nerves. Whether you sleep on your side, your back, or your stomach, the height or firmness of your pillow may be adjustable to a more ideal place for your sleeping. You can also use a number of physical exercises and stretches to aid in strengthening of your back and neck or correcting your posture as well as other forms of physical therapy like traction.

Studies on Best Pillows for Neck Support

Some studies have shown that using the proper pillow can help to reduce neck pain and improve the quality of sleep. Choosing the best pillow should be based on your size, health needs and budget. Before you purchase a pillow, think about how you sleep and the position you sleep in. Keeping your head in neutral alignment is the goal of using a pillow for neck support. Having the right firmness, depending on whether the material you use to fill your pillow is soft or dense, and even the shape of your pillow can make a big difference in how your neck and head are adjustable to the ideal position ho help with pain.

What is Your Sleeping Position?

Depending on the position you sleep in, the best cervical support pillow for you to use could vary considerably. Certain types of pillows for neck pain generally work better with a certain sleeping position than others. Keep in mind that if you are someone who sleeps in different positions, it may or may not require you to use different kinds depending on the sleeping positions you use. For back sleepers who sometimes do side sleeping, having a flatter pillow and one that has more cushion may be a good idea. For side sleepers who also sleep on their stomachs, having a pillow with decent cushion and a very thin pillow (or removing the pillow when positions change) may be helpful.

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers will probably enjoy a thinner pillow for neck pain that won’t throw the head and neck forward, causing tension and neck pain. You should also look for a model that will work to gently cradle the neck by including extra padding in the bottom portion of the pillow. A softer pillow fill can often work best for this type of sleeper, but this is not always the case. The fill you choose may also vary considerably with how much support and what kind of support you need.

Side Sleepers

For side sleepers, a firmer pillow that’s able to provide the proper cushioning between the outside shoulder and ear will commonly work better. The right material and cushion for a side sleeper pillow can vary, and you might want to consider a variety of pillow options if you are someone who sleeps in different positions at different times. For example, side sleepers may sometimes sleep on their back. Or side sleepers might spend a lot of time sleeping on their stomach as well.

A side sleeper pillow may have a good amount of firmness, but you may want it to be adjustable enough in shape so that you can move the fill to one side or the other as needed.

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers should look for a pillow for neck pain that’s almost flat. Commonly, stomach sleepers may not even need a pillow for their head and instead can tuck a pillow under the stomach in order to prevent lower back pain in addition to neck pain. You may want to fill your pillow with a more soft material as well in this case, as it will be easier to push the pillow into the shape you need to sleep on.

Neck Pillows Based on Filling Type

man needing neck supportWhen it comes to pillow fillings, there are many options to choose from. The most common kind of pillow filling is a down combo, polyester fiberfill or foam. Latex pillows for neck pain and memory foam are pretty popular these days, especially among people who are desperately in need of added neck support.

The Advantage of Variety

The pillow for neck pain that’s right for you will depend on how you feel daily. Most people have a variety of pillow options to choose from, using a certain kind of pillow based on the location of aches and pains. If you’re shopping for a foam model, go by the density. The higher the density, the less chance of breakdown and the more neck support you’ll enjoy.

Sometimes having more than one variety of pillow filling is a strategic move. For example, having both a tempur pedic memory foam pillow and a thinner down pillow gives you one option with more support and density (the tempur pedic pillow) as well as an option with less density that may be easier on your neck if you’re sleeping on your back or stomach (the down pillow).

Memory Foam Pillow for Neck Pain

Memory foam pillows are on the pricey side, but once you’ve slept on one you’ll never go back to down. Memory foam pillows for neck pain are popular because they help to minimize pressure points by the memory foam constantly adjusting and molding to the shape of the user’s body as they move throughout the night. Tempur pedic pillows, a specific type of memory foam, are a popular memory foam pillow option.

Tempur or memory foam pillows for neck pain come in a variety of styles. You can even find a shredded memory foam pillow if the rigid memory foam pillow shape isn’t ideal. A shredded memory foam pillow is great because it gives the support of a memory foam pillow but can even more effectively cushion the head and neck, the tempur or memory foam taking any shape necessary. For neck pain, the most popular memory foam choice is the contoured S-shape. The unique design of this pillow may earn it more and more popularity in coming years as one of the best pillow fill options. Keep in mind that tempur or memory foam has a reputation for making sleepers hot.

Latex Pillow Benefits

The firmest kind of pillow for neck pain and one that can resist dust mites and mold is latex. These pillows can also help with neck and back alignment and are often contoured for neck support and proper alignment. These pillows can have a firm or extra firm density, being one of the best options to help those those who sleep on their side.

Cotton & Wool Pillows

Cotton and wool pillows can resist dust mites and mold and are hypoallergenic. If you love a soft, fluffy pillow for neck pain then this is the type of cervical pillow for you. The pillow will support the neck and keep your spine and neck aligned best if you tend to sleep on your side. The firmness of this pillow can vary from less firm to extra firm, depending on how densely filled the pillow is.

Down Pillow Advantages

A down pillow is affordable and allows the user to move the fill around so it can provide the most support where you want it. This fill style is firm, yet soft and provides adequate support for both the neck and shoulders. A combination of fifty percent down and fifty percent feathers works well because the feathers are quite supportive and will act like springs. A nice environmentally-friendly alternative fill to down pillows are buckwheat pillows (filled with buckwheat hulls), which have similar characteristics.

The Buyer’s Guide for the Perfect Neck Pillow

When you’re shopping for a pillow that can offer the best support, you should consider more than cost. Just because a pillow is higher in price doesn’t mean it will offer the best night’s sleep. The majority of the time you can find a reasonably priced pillow that offers the perfect blend of firmness and comfort.

Unique Pillow Models

Many models are designed to address specific needs such as neck pain, headaches, and hot flashes in addition to being able to relieve neck pain and support your neck. Here are a few top picks for best pillow for neck pain that have other unique features.

Cervical Pillows

Cervical pillows are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. This pillow can add extra cushioning in the lower part of the pillow in order to adequately support the neck. Physicians believe that with consistent use, these pillows for neck pain can significantly reduce chronic neck pain in the shoulders and neck.

Water Pillows

An adjustable water pillow is favored by chiropractors, physical therapists, and many people who sleep in any position. These pillows use water, the amount being adjustable and allowing the user to customize the level of support and density to keep the back, head, and neck aligned properly in any sleep position. A water pillow with adjustable height and firmness gives people a lot of flexibility and the pillow may earn its position as one of the top cervical pillow options for all types of sleepers. A water pillow really is one of the best pillows for neck pain.

Cool Pillows

A cool pillow is a perfect solution to night sweats or hot flashes. These pillows utilize a filling of tiny beads that work to whisk away and absorb moisture, leaving your pillow cool and dry. This pillow is a great option for people who tend to be too warm while sleeping, and a good alternative material to tempur foam, which can tend to be warm.

Oxygen Promoting Pillows

Pillows that are labeled as oxygen promoting use technology that’s based on studies of sock fabrics. These sock fabrics worked to increase circulation in patients with diabetes. These pillows also use the same type of technology in order to increase oxygen content in blood vessels. Some consumers who use these types of pillows also reported a reduction in neck pain.

Anti Snore Pillows

An anti-snore pillow is designed to minimize snoring. There is little research showing how the design of a pillow for neck pain can affect how much or how little a person snores. However, many consumers, side sleepers, those sleeping on their backs, and even those on their stomachs swear by them.

Positional Pillows

A positional pillow is designed for side, back and stomach sleepers. These types of pillows can provide much-needed extra support and is the perfect choice for people who suffer from chronic pain. The material, height and firmness of a positional pillow may vary considerably, and they can be a great way to help people be pain free while they sleep.

Body Pillows

A body pillow provides support for the entire body, relieving pressure points in the back, neck and hips. It can be quite effective in soothing sore muscles beyond just neck pain. This kind of pillow will cradle the average user from shoulders to feet, supporting the back and legs as well as the head and neck. The best part about this pillow is it’s size; and you can put anything on it! You could have a pillow that looks like a dolphin, or has a life-sized picture of your friend Greg!

So What is the Best Pillow for Me?

The ability to sleep comfortably without dealing with chronic neck pain is a blessing that many people may not realize until they no longer have it. When a man asked Jesus if he could come follow him, Jesus told him “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Nowhere to lay his head? Talk about waking up with a crick in your neck! If he had lived to become a senior, chances are he might have had to fight off some chronic neck pain of his own. Luckily, Jesus appreciated the value of a great pillow. In Mark 4:38, he fell asleep with a pillow on a little boat that was traveling through a vicious storm. That must have been a comfortable pillow, alright! Or perhaps the exhaustion of multiple days of travel knocked him out cold straight into the arms of the Father. Either way, finding a pillow that supports you well can give you the ability to sleep comfortable and rest well. It would be a good idea for you too to take advantage of this while you still can!

Is the Answer Still Unclear?

Maybe your somebody who tends to sleep on one side, but not every time. You deal with pain and stiffness in your neck, which is worse sometimes and not as noticeable at other times. Finding a pillow that has the best firmness and material fill for you can be a challenge, and you may be unsure how to determine the best option for you. Should you choose a tempur foam pillow or a latex pillow? A wool pillow or an adjustable water pillow? A soft, squishy pillow or a super firm one? Should you have more than one pillow? Which pillow has the best value for its price in addition to relieving that tension in your neck and head?

Consulting a Professional

If you’re unsure what kind of pillow will be best for your type of sleep or the pain you tend to wrestle with, we recommend consulting a health professional about it. Depending on the type of pain you deal with, neck pain or otherwise, and depending on the sleeping position (or more than one sleeping position) you tend to use, you may be able to determine the support pillow that will be the best pillow for you after looking at the best pillows for neck pain and other support or health-related purposes. If you still are having trouble choosing a pillow and determining the best pillow for you, a physical therapist who knows your symptoms may be able to offer medical advice and a recommendation on the kind of pillow that will be most beneficial to you.

References and Sources:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. List Outlines Gamers’ 15 Most Common Injuries and Ailments https://www.aaos.org/aaosnow/2020/aug/commentary/commentary02/

Bodysport. https://www.bodysportproducts.com

ComforTrac. https://comfortrac.net/

Comfy Pillow. All You Need  to Know About Latex Pillow Benefits https://comphypillow.com/latex-pillow-benefits/

Cornerstones for Parents. Is Jesus Asleep in Your Boat? https://www.cornerstonesforparents.com/jesus-asleep-boat

Diamond Bedding. What are the Health Benefits of Down Pillows https://www.diamondbedding.co.uk/pages/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-down-pillows

Ghost Bed. Cooling Pillow Technology and Benefits https://www.ghostbed.com/pages/pillow-cooling-technology-and-benefits

Got Questions. What does it mean that Jesus had nowhere to lay his head? https://www.gotquestions.org/nowhere-to-lay-His-head.html

Healthline. Sleeping Without a Pillow: Benefits and Effects on Spine and Posture https://www.healthline.com/health/sleeping-without-a-pillow

Mattress Online Blog. Anti-Snore Pillow: Does It Really Work? https://www.mattressonline.co.uk/blog/family/anti-snore-pillow-really-work/

Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms

Medical News Today. Are Chiropractors Doctors? 5 Truths and Myths https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322038#certifications

Medical News Today. Cervical Pillows: What they are, do they work, and options https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/cervical-pillows

Mediflow. The Water Pillow and its Benefits https://www.mediflow.com/blogs/mediflow/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-water-pillow-and-its-benefits

O2Pillow. Oxygen Pillow: The cure for the common pillow https://o2pillow.com/

Pillow Advisor. Memory Foam Pillows UK https://pillowadvisor.co.uk/pillow-advice/about-memory-foam-pillows/

Posture Pump. https://posturepump.com/

Pronex. https://www.rsmedical.com/pronex

Savvy Rest. 5 Reasons a Body Pillow Will Change Your Sleep and Your Life https://savvyrest.com/blog/5-reasons-body-pillow-will-change-your-sleep-and-your-life

Sleepopolis. 6 Benefits of Buckhweat Pillows https://sleepopolis.com/blog/6-benefits-buckwheat-pillows/

Spine Health. 3 Ways to Improve Forward Head Posture https://www.spine-health.com/blog/ways-improve-forward-head-posture

Spine Health. 10 Tips to Prevent Neck Pain https://www.spine-health.com/blog/10-tips-prevent-neck-pain

The Wool Life. Will a Wool Pillow Help You Sleep Better https://www.thewoollife.com/will-a-wool-pillow-help-you-sleep-better/

Copyright 2021, all rights reserved .

January 19, 2017